STABILITY IS GOOD
FOR THE SOUL
A lot of people whine about their in-laws, but not me. I love
my in-laws, and I知 thrilled that they live only 3000 miles away.
If they lived much farther away, like in Zimbabwe, it would be
tough to make my annual visit to see them, like I did last week. My wife and
I just returned from our five-day trip, and while she値l visit in between,
I know I知 counting the 359 days until I can return for another.
They池e getting old now, as my father-in-law is 87 and
my mother-in-law is 84. But they池e in amazing physical shape, strong and
hearty Canadians, and I can see many, many more annual trips in the future.
I can picture it now, 20 years into the future. I値l be
73 years old, making my father-in-law 107 and my mother-in-law 104. They値l
still live in the same house they live in now, which is the same house my
wife grew up in. Nothing will change, just as it hasn稚 changed since I
first met them 33 years ago.
We値l fly into Montreal, like we always do, and drive about
an hour north to their small town. With the time change, we値l get to the
house around 10 p.m. My father-in-law will have been napping in his chair,
but he値l awake full of energy when he hears our car drive up.
My wife will wheel me in, and there will be plenty of
hugs and kisses. And then my father-in-law will launch into a dissertation
about how if we had national health insurance, like Canada does, I could
have had all of my joints replaced at no cost at all.
This lecture will last about 45 minutes, and I will be
very tired after the first thirty seconds, because I致e heard it a few
hundred times before. But I will laugh every ten minutes or so, and my
father-in-law will laugh with me, even though this particular story isn稚
supposed to be funny.
I will be laughing because I am thinking of the movie,
"Airplane." In particular, I知 thinking of the scene where Ted
is sitting next to different strangers on the plane and telling them the
story about how he and Elaine met. He drones on and on, and finally turns to
ask, "I知 not boring you, am I?"
The older woman who had been listening had now hung herself.
His next listener is pouring gasoline all over himself and desperately
trying to light a match while Ted continues his story. A third one is a
Japanese guy committing hara-kiri.
I keep thinking of these scenes and can稚 help laughing. But
I値l listen, because many of his stories and lectures are fascinating. A
little long, but fascinating. A little repetitive sometimes, but
fascinating. But finally, it痴 midnight and I will yawn and say how tired
everyone must be, hoping they don稚 realize it痴 only 9:00 on the West
Coast, and off we値l go to bed.
This is where I値l really start feeling young again. My wife
and I will walk into her room and there it will be---the same bed she slept
in as a little girl. The same bed that she and I slept in when we were first
married. The same bed that was designed for one person or perhaps a very
tiny couple that really likes to snuggle.
Like most adults, we致e learned to appreciate our space. Our
bed at home is a California King, and we致e been thinking of knocking down
a wall or two so we can put a couple of California Kings together.
But we will eagerly climb into her old double bed, feeling
young and frisky, and happily spend five nights tangled together. Five long
Yes, I値l be 73 and my father-in-law will be 107, and when I
wake up in the morning, I値l feel guilty. Not for reasons one might think,
but because I知 sleeping in. My father-in-law is up every morning at 6:00,
and is fond of bragging about it. He has a work ethic that is second to
none, and the last thing I want is for him to realize that I知 the lazy
slug that I am.
I値l think about getting up and showing my eagerness, and
then I値l remind myself I知 73 YEARS OLD and I値l smile tiredly and go
back to sleep.
Eventually, though, I値l get up and remind him it痴 three
hours earlier on the West Coast, so I知 not as lazy as he thinks. Then I値l
take a deep breath and get ready for a long, hard day of listening to
You gotta love it.